Astrocytes are star-shaped glial cells that comprise a large proportion of brain tissue. Non-neoplastic reactive astrocytes can sometimes be difficult to differentiate from the neoplastic astrocytes of glial tumors called astrocytomas. This GFAP stain highlights the key morphologic differences between the star-shaped and widely spread-out non-neoplastic reactive astrocytes compared to the neoplastic astrocytes in this glioblastoma, which exhibit crowding and severe variation in size and shape (i.e. pleomorphism).
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